Inmates Learning Construction Skills While Building Homes
NEWTON, Iowa (AP) – A central Iowa prison program aims to alleviate a lack of affordable housing while teaching inmates construction skills they can use when they’re released.
The Des Moines Register reports that Newton Correction Facility inmates enrolled in the Iowa Prison Industries program are currently building an office and a classroom.
But they will eventually build entire homes that can be moved to rural communities to address the decline in affordable housing. Inmates can also pursue apprenticeships for jobs in demand in the state.
The acting warden of the low-and-medium security prison describes the program as a “win-win.” Those who qualify for affordable housing purchase can buy homes for about $125,000. The inmates gain marketable skills for when they leave prison.
Families earning below $73,100 annually would qualify to purchase a home.
Illinois Man Given 25 Years For Shooting At Vehicles
TIPTON, Iowa (AP) – A 61-year-old Illinois man has been given 25 years in an Iowa prison for shooting at vehicles along Interstate 80 in eastern Iowa.
Cedar County District Court records say Charles Johnston, of Belvidere, Illinois, was sentenced Friday in Tipton. He’d pleaded guilty to assault on an officer and four counts of intimidation with a dangerous weapon.
Prosecutors dropped charges of operating while intoxicated and attempted murder in return for his pleas.
Authorities say Johnston fired several shots on Jan. 11, 2018, at a rest area and at a semitrailer at a gas station and then at an Iowa state trooper.
A court document says Johnston had become obsessed over a family supposedly killed in a collision with a semi and that he wanted to retaliate against a truck driver or truck drivers.
Johnston had been a teaching psychology at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois.
Seed Developer Awarded The World Food Prize
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A seed developer from the Netherlands credited with introducing high quality disease-resistant vegetable seeds to more than 60 countries including the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia is the 2019 recipient of the World Food Prize.
Simon Groot, a sixth generation seedsman, began his search to create better vegetable seeds to help farmers in Southeast Asia in 1981.
Groot’s award was announced Monday at the U.S. Department of State.
The foundation that awards the $250,000 World Food Prize is based in Des Moines, Iowa.
Groot will receive the prize at an Oct. 17 award ceremony at the Iowa Capitol.
The prize was created by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Norman Borlaug in 1986 to recognize scientists and others who have improved the quality and availability of food.